APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert


Music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green Book by Garson Kanin

Dates 5 – 9 June 2007 @ 20.00 Venue Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This was an extraordinarily exhilirating musical, full of energy and talent. From start to finish, the actors/singers were bubbling with enthusiasm in this little known work by Styne, although he had such hits as West Side Story, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Gypsy, now showing at Stanley Theatre. The comedic and talented Susan Skemp (Kay Cram) gave the opening scene a big boost with her rendition of "Waiting." Following this solo, Steve Dotto (Hubie Kram) was exuding with charisma in the humorous duet "Take a Job," which got the opening night audience smiling with delight.

I was also amused by the comedy team of Tyler Q. Felbel (Fatso O'rear), Chris Lam (Skin Demopoulous), and Adam Abrams (Brains Berman) who did their singing and acrobatic routines reminding me of the Keystone Cops and the Three Stooges. The Swingers (Melissa Bachert, Talyor Hastings, Kelly Miller, and Christine Quintana) were delightful in their tap dance and song, a style reminiscent of the 50s and 60s.

The love interest is always the highlight of any musical comedy. Cathy Salmond (Tilda Mullen) rose to the occasion with her clear soprano singing of the theme song of the show, "Make Someone Happy," although I felt that her handsome partner, Blair Hayashi (John Henry Wheeler) needed a couple of voice lessons to match her.

Deej Barens, Andrea Houde, Richard Lam, Wendy Maxwell, Christopher Natuik, Michael Studiak, and Jandreet Totosaus (Ensemble) played their small parts well. As the theatre adage goes, there are no small actors ... just small parts. They sang the theme song wonderfully at the curtain call.

Michel Guimond, who directed the show, also took a cameo role as a dancer together with Soo-Mi Choe. Music direction by Mark Reid was well executed with piano accompaniment by Jennifer Yang.

Artistic Producer Scott Ashton Swan was beaming with pride and gratitude to those who attended opening night, saying that the Society had come a long way from its beginnings ten years ago in the Roundhouse Community Centre to its present home in the Shadbolt. He also reiterated that the mission of the Society was to present BC premieres of Broadway musicals, most of which are not box office hits.

I've reviewed many of APPLAUSE's shows, and I've noticed that talentwise, they've grown in leaps and bounds. Many of these actors I've seen in the past have now felt very much at home after years of acting. Truly, I'd say that this troupe has evolved into professionalism, especially by the fact that they could put up a musical in a mere two weeks' time.

© 2007 Ed Farolan